By Ogova Ondego
Published April 13, 2017
Buo-ona leads an almost impossible childhood in an African village full of fear and hopelessness after a mysterious beast visits its wrath on it: his father, a mighty hunter, is crippled; his mother, now the sole bread-winner, is attacked and killed on the way from the market; other villages, driven by fear and despondency, avoid trading with Buo-ona’s village. Rather than resign himself to the fate that has handed him lemon, must do something to turn the lemon into lemonade, his young age notwithstanding.
This is Buo-ona, a fantasy folktale written by Esther Nwogwonuwe of Nigeria.
The book, in a simple and straight forward language, espouses hard work, endurance, bravery, generosity and good character as being integral to a successful life. It does this using Buo-ona who, instead of surrendering to fate, resolves to fight back by embarking on an expedition too dangerous for a grown-up, let alone a boy.
Not departing from the teachings of his father and the counsel of his mother, the values he lives by attract allies from unexpected sources and thus triumphs over adversity.
Buo-ona is a simple short story that entertains as much as it informs and educates. Most of it is written in the first person singular format, i.e. Buo-ona is the one who tells the story.
Although the story is driven home, the reader may feel that the characters would have been better off had they been fully developed in their three human dimensions and were the writer to make the reader experience the story with all the five senses. One may feel the story, though engaging, is rushed.
That is enough of Buo-ona, I think. But it is hardly the end of the tale that, I feel, is just starting.
The latest project of writer Esther Nwogwonuwe of Ubulu-Uku area of Nigeria’s Delta State, a tome titled The Story of Ubulu Kingdom, shall be launched on April 15, 2017. Buo-ona, her debut boo, pales in size and content against the voluminous titled The Story of Ubulu Kingdom.
I first met Esther Nwogwonuwe in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2004. She struck me as someone who is genuinely Nigerian: entrepreneurial, outgoing and quite proud of her roots. Thirteen years later, as the book on her people is launched during the Easter period, that is the image I still have of the author, now married and based in London, England.